President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort collected on a bill sent a bill to the Trump White House after administration aides took over the resort’s Library Bar and helped themselves to over $1,000 worth of premium alcoholic drinks, according to a report from ProPublica.
The group, which included former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and former Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin, had the bartender escorted out of the area by secret service agents so they could discuss “confidential matters” before pouring themselves 54 cocktails for a total of $1,076. After the bill was forwarded to the White House, the Trump administration paid the tab to Trump’s private business with taxpayer money.
While this instance of lavish spending is likely to raise eyebrows, it hardly scratches the surface of how inextricably President Trump has tied his personal business holdings to his administration at tax-payer expense. According to emails published by ProPublica (provided by the nonprofit group Property of the People), Trump ‘s resort refused to negotiate with Trump’s state department regarding a flat-fee arrangement for the room costs of federal employees throughout the President’s first term. Rather, Mar-a-Lago charged the government the maximum amounted permitted under federal rules, which is 300% of the government’s per diem rate, or $546 per night for every room. The state department eventually took the unprecedented step of applying for a taxpayer funded Citibank travel card which is exclusively used at Mar-a-Lago.
The report further details that between 2015 and 2018, Trump Organization businesses, which are currently controlled by a trust with President Trump as the sole beneficiary, have received at least $16 million from his campaign, political organizations, and government agencies.
The administration’s spending at Trump Organization destinations is likely to fall under renewed scrutiny following Tuesday’s ruling by a federal judge allowing congressional democrats to proceed with their lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the emoluments clauses of the Constitution (which proscribes government officials from profiting from foreign governments without congressional approval).
[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]